Social Programme and Accompanying Guests Information

A visit to Scotland would not be complete without an opportunity to sample the country’s wealth of culture and visit some world famous landmarks. The XVth World Water Congress social programme provides a number of exciting opportunities for delegates and their partners to experience some of what your host country has to offer.

During the Congress programme, a full itinerary of special events is also available to keep partners of delegates entertained whilst the conference is in session.

Details of ticket prices and availability for all activities can be found on our Registration page where event bookings can also be made.

Monday 25 May

A warm Scottish welcome awaits all delegates and their partners at a complimentary drinks reception on the opening evening of of the Congress at the host venue – the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC).  An opportunity to meet exhibitors, speakers and other participants in an informal setting at the end of the first day’s formal proceedings.

Tuesday 26 May

Edinburgh CastleA ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to enjoy exclusive access to the iconic Edinburgh Castle for a truly memorable drinks reception.  Soak up the atmosphere of this historic site whilst being entertained by Highland dancers and a traditional band.  Explore the Great Hall, Royal Apartments, Crown Jewels Exhibition, Queen Anne Building, St Margaret’s Chapel and Jacobite room before experiencing the moving grand finale of ‘Beating the Retreat.

Wednesday 27 May – “Thirsty World” film screening and discussion event

Water Aid ScotlandOn the evening of Wednesday 27 May 2015, the stage at the XVth World Water Congress will be handed over for a special showing of A Thirsty World – a powerful and thought-provoking film depicting the daily struggle for water across much of the planet we share – hosted by the Congress official charity, WaterAid.

A Thirsty World produced by globally acclaimed master of aerial cinema, Yann Arthus Bertrand, was filmed across 20 countries and revisits our incredible and fragile planet, this time highlighting the wonders of the world’s fresh water sources – the source of all life an earth – and the ordinary heroes fighting to defend them.

A European family of four is responsible for the consumption of 140,000 litres of water every week. But this isn’t ours. It comes from other, often developing countries, producing our coffee, jeans and cheap meat.  There, water is often scarce and increasingly a cause of conflict.

Viewed from awesome heights, before plunging to earth to meet the campaigners, entrepreneurs and individuals on the frontline in areas of the world often rarely seen on film, A Thirsty World is a beautiful, urgent call to action.

As a cause also championed by Congress delegates, the evening will include a panel discussion about the issues raised in the film and the possible solutions.  To help spread this powerful and important message, the film showing will also be attended by local young water professionals, students and charity supporters.

Join Congress official charity, WaterAid, for this stunningly shot, unique film and a chance to reflect on the wider themes of water security, inequality and the role we can all play in ensuring the safe, sustainable and just distribution of global water resources.

Refreshments will be served.

Click here to book tickets.

Wednesday 27 May – Water Witness International:  Informal networking and drinks event

Water-Witness-logo-RGBWater Witness International works globally to ensure a fair deal for the poor on water resources through research, advocacy and action. We are thrilled to see our home city of Edinburgh host the XVth World Water Congress and extend a warm welcome to all delegates to our informal drinks and networking evening on Wednesday the 27th May  8 pm onwards at the Café Royale, 19 West Register Street, Edinburgh EH2 2AA.   The evening will be a chance to unwind, meet old friends, make new ones, reflect on the week and plan for the future in one of Edinburgh’s finest watering holes. The venue can hold 100 so please arrive early to avoid disappointment. For further details please contact Robbie Sage at robbiesage@waterwitness.org.

Thursday 28 May – Gala Dinner at National Museum of Scotland

Museum of ScotlandOur gala dinner is being held at the stunning National Museum of Scotland. Diners will enjoy a drinks reception while exploring some of the precious exhibits before being invited to take their seats in the amazing Grand Gallery with its spectacular arched glass ceiling and balustrade balconies. A delicious three course dinner and host of wonderful entertainment will make this an evening to celebrate in true Scottish fashion.  An added highlight of this event will be the IWRA Congress Awards Ceremony.

Partner Programme

Tuesday 26 May
Edinburgh Panoramic Tour

Edinburgh CastleVisitors are invited to join us for a panoramic bus tour of Edinburgh taking in the main sights around the Royal Mile, Holyrood Park, the Grassmarket and concluding with a guided tour around the Castle. No trip to Edinburgh would be complete without a trip to this iconic fortress perched on the extinct volcanic rock overlooking the city and beyond.

Walking Tour of Edinburgh New Town

During the afternoon visitors have the chance of a walking tour around Edinburgh’s New Town. Described as ‘Life in the Georgian Era’ this tour takes in the architectural highlights of George Street, Charlotte Street, Charlotte Square, the Assembly Rooms, the Georgian House and the childhood house of Robert Louis Stevenson. Our tour finishes with a sumptuous afternoon tea at the glamorous Caledonian Hotel, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

Wednesday 27 May
The Real Mary Kings Close

Mary Kings ClosePlease join us for a private tour, with a costumed guide, of Edinburgh’s unique attraction, Mary King’s Close. Buried deep beneath the Royal Mile this warren of hidden streets has remained frozen in time since the 17th Century. Our visitors will have the opportunity to explore the ancient closes, get a glimpse of daily life of a bygone era and hear tales of locals while enjoying a welcome nip of whisky.

Full Day Tour of St Andrews & Falkland Palace

Falkland PalaceAlternatively partners may wish to join us for a full day bus tour to the beautiful Fife towns of St Andrews and Falkland. Walking around this famous university town, visitors will pass by the 14th century cathedral, the ancient castle and walk along the coastal path before reaching the celebrated Royal and Ancient Golf course. After lunch at the renowned Old Course Hotel we will head south for a guided tour of the beautiful former Royal Palace of the Scottish Kings at Falkland before returning to Edinburgh.

Thursday 28 May

Full Day Tour of Scottish Borders

Thirlestane CastleFor those preferring to explore out of town we suggest a visit to the Scottish Borders. After breakfast, our full day tour will start off with a scenic drive down to Thirlestane Castle where visitors will receive a warm welcome from Hon. Captain Maitland at his family home. Then en route to Melrose we will marvel in the stunning scenery including Scott’s View, one of Sir Walter’s Scott’s favourite views in his homeland. Once in Melrose, we will have a wander round the town centre before stopping for two course lunch at the Townhouse. This unique hotel provides great food in lovely surroundings, along with friendly Scottish hospitality. After lunch, we will visit Abbotsford, the beautiful home of Sir Walter Scott.

Friday 29 May
Trip to Rosslyn Chapel

Rosslyn ChapelIn the morning we are offering a short coach trip to Rosslyn Chapel; a Category A listed building and Scheduled Ancient Monument. Built between 1446 and 1484, it has been described as an “Architectural Wonder” and a “Library in Stone”. Myths, legends and Hollywood fiction writing have given Rosslyn a unique sense of mystery and wonder. The chapel’s most recent fame dates back to the more recent blockbuster film “The Da Vinci Code”, parts of which were filmed on location here.

Walk to Duddingston Loch and Village

After lunch visitors are welcome to join us for a walking tour through Holyrood Park past the picturesque Duddingston Loch to the beautiful village of Duddingston where you will have a chance to amble through the cobbled streets before enjoying the local brew in the quaint Sheep’s Heid Inn. This beautifully restored village pub was a firm favourite amongst past monarchs and poets and is Edinburgh’s oldest surviving watering hole which exudes charm and character from every nook and cranny.


One SpaWe offering visitors an opportunity to relax in the award winning, One Spa at the Sheraton Grand Hotel which offers a natural balance of energy, water and heat in a beautiful, light-filled space. The infinity edge swimming pool and shimmering rooftop Hydropool offers the perfect location to soak away any stress and travel fatigue. The Spa session is three hours in duration and does not include any treatments. Once you have purchased the spa session we will be in contact with you to confirm availability and whether you would like to have a morning or afternoon slot.

Social Programme Price List

Description Price (£) inc VAT
Drinks reception at EICC – 25th May (accompanying person rate) 25.50
Scottish Reception at Edinburgh Castle – 26th May 40.00
Gala Dinner at National Museum of Scotland – 28th May 80.00
Edinburgh Panoramic Tour – 26th May 47.50
Walking Tour – 26th May 43.50
Spa at One Spa – 26th May 70.00
Mary King’s Close – 27th May 26.50
Full day tour to St Andrew’s and Falkland Palace – 27th May 75.00
Spa at One Spa – 27th May 70.00
Full day tour of Scottish Borders – 28th May 92.50
Spa at One Spa – 28th May 70.00
Tour of Rosslyn Chapel – 29th May 43.50
Walk to Duddingston Loch and Village – 29th May 9.50
Spa at One Spa – 29th May 70.00